1937 - 2019
Dr. Edward Harrington Jennings, 82, resident of Bradenton, Florida, passed away peacefully on August 10, 2019, at Tampa General Hospital surrounded by his loving family. Born February 18, 1937 in Minneapolis to Ruth Harrington Jennings, a schoolteacher, and Edward Goodell Jennings, a lawyer and professor of law. He was raised in Washington, DC. He had a lifelong passion for sports, including baseball, golf, and biking. His childhood dream was to play baseball for the Washington Senators. He attended Fork Union Military Academy in VIrginia and then went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked as an industrial engineer in Spartanburg before going on for his MBA at Western Reserve University, concentrating in Finance. For two years he worked at Merck and Co. in Pennsylvania as a senior industrial engineer, but he decided to pursue teaching and went on to get his PhD in finance at the University of Michigan. In 1969, he became an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, which included a year on a Rockefeller Grant at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a term of teaching in Hawaii, leading to a lifelong love of world travel. In 1976 he became Vice President for Finance at the University of Iowa, which led to the presidency of the University of Wyoming in Laramie. His expertise, accomplishments, and leadership talents attracted Ohio State University to recruit him as its tenth president in 1981 at the age of 44. He served as president of The Ohio State University for nine years, from 1981-1990, and was asked to serve again as interim president in 2002. He was a quiet, competent leader who led the university through a major budget crisis and was always proud that he added the "THE" to rebrand Ohio State University. Dr. Jennings was first and foremost a faculty member. Ed was not by nature the sort of public person his position as president required him to be, yet he excelled in encouraging university excellence, raising millions of dollars and balancing important relationships with faculty, alumni, legislators and others in positions of power. He was in essence a brilliant but humble private person who managed to accomplish great things in his own charismatic way. President Jennings was recognized by the Board of Trustees electing to name the Botany and Zoology building on main campus as Jennings Hall in 2008. Preceded in death by his parents, brother, and former wife Mary Eleanor Jennings; Dr. Jennings is survived by his wife of thirty one years, Barbara Morehouse Jennings; sons, Steven of Montana and William of Colorado; stepdaughter, Megan Real (Erica) of Ohio; and granddaughters, Kelly of Ohio and Valerie (Casimir) and Natalie of Montana. A celebration of life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Bradenton in September. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Roskamp Institute of Sarasota, the Edward H. Jennings Scholarship Fund at The Ohio State University, or the First United Methodist Church of Bradenton.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Aug. 13 to Aug. 14, 2019.